How to choose the companion dog for you

When looking for the perfect dog for you, it’s important to consider a few things. This is what every Aussie should know when choosing their new best friend.

How to choose the companion dog for you

If you’ve been thinking it might be nice to have a dog around for companionship, you’re probably right. But there are some things that need to be considered before you can bring home the perfect pooch. Here’s how to make sure you’re making the right choices for both yourself and your next best friend.

Don’t fall for farmed pups
Before looking at puppies, it’s important to know about the industry that produces them. While puppy farms are illegal in Victoria, they are still legal in most Australian states. These are factories in which 20 to 1000 mother dogs are penned in horrendous conditions and forced to produce litter after litter of puppies until their bodies give out and they die at a young age. These puppies are the ones you see in the pet store. Adorable, yes, but they are more likely to have serious health problems, and buying them funds this cruel industry.

Look into breeders
If you want to buy a puppy from a breeder, it’s important to know your stuff first. Like puppy farms, it’s important not to support industries that condone cruelty towards dogs and pups. To help you assess a breeder, check out the Smart Puppy Buyer’s Guide.

Save a life
Alternatively, you could choose from the thousands of dogs and pups currently sitting in shelters near you. According to Pet Welfare, 100,000 healthy and treatable cats and dogs are euthanised in Australian pounds and shelters each year.

Most shelters and pounds in Australia do not share the data on euthanasia rates. This makes it easy for shelters that practise out-dated policies to conceal that they kill 85–95 per cent of cats, and every second dog. Some pounds are more guilty than others. Shelters in NSW put down twice as many dogs as Victorian shelters. Every year in Australia, 20,000 cats and dogs are put down because their owners were forced to surrender their pets to shelters due to no-pets clauses in rental agreements.

Fortunately, this means that if you’re looking to adopt a new best friend, you may also be saving them from the jaws of death.

Choose who to take home
When choosing your new friend, it’s important to reflect on your lifestyle. A common reason pets are surrendered to the pound is that new pet owners suddenly ‘discover’ their lifestyles and/or daily routines conflict with the demands of pet ownership.

So, first, evaluate your lifestyle and your home. The RSPCA’s Find-a-Friend feature helps people to find a dog that matches their personality and lifestyle. These factors include how much spare time you have, how much you know about dog training, how big and dog-friendly your home is, and how much exercise and attention you should give your pooch.

Many shelters will have websites with pictures and descriptions of the dogs they have for adoption. The RSPCA will colour code these dogs and puppies so you can identify which ones might align with your lifestyle.

Consider the oldie
If you’re interested in saving a pooch’s life as well as bringing home your new best mate, it’s important to consider which dogs are most likely to be put down. A pack of fluffy puppies will almost definitely find a home with a young family, and that attractive young retriever is probably only days away from finding some jeep-driving, surf-loving couple – but what about those older dogs down the back?

An older family friend of mine has taken to adopting dogs in the later stages of their lives. Dogs who don’t demand endless miles of running to be kept happy, and instead want to relax in your company. A few years ago, her dog, Queenie, passed away. She was heartbroken. Yet, a few months later, she had returned to the shelter and brought home Biscuit, an older mixed breed with so much grey around her eyes it looked like she was wearing spectacles. I asked her how she could do it to herself, knowing that they would only have a few years together. “Well,” she told me, “We all want someone to love us in our later years, and there’s nothing like an old dog’s love”.

If you’re interested in rescuing a pooch, swing by your local shelter or checkout Adopt a Pet to see if your new best friend is out there waiting for you to pick them up.

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    COMMENTS

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    Tanker
    25th Aug 2019
    10:18am
    Our latest pooch was a rescue dog who had been used as a breeding bitch in a puppy farm. She a traumatic first 18 months of life and it has taken some time for her to settle down as a family dog. She is a real family dog who loves affection, giving it as well as receiving it. She is intelligent, being a Kelpie, sometimes too intelligent being able to see through our attempts at getting her back on her lead but really is a lovely and very healthy dog.
    Our previous dog we bought and later suspected she had been the product of a puppy farm but she was very healthy and lived until she was 16 years of age.
    Our first dog was a pedigree and bought from a breeder but we eventually discovered had a genetic heart condition and died young. Our advice is beware pedigree dogs as they are often, but not always, bred for looks and not good health despite their protestations to the contrary. Our 2nd dog was also a pedigree, a Rottweiler, and she was absolutely beautiful. A wonderful family dog, altho' big, and very friendly to everyone once they had been properly introduced. A great guard dog protecting the family, especially the kids, and give a big warning to strangers that could not be ignored. She never did anything other than warned strangers and was very biddable. Probably my favorite dog and it was a sad day when she developed cancer in the shoulder but she showed immense courage with that.
    Dogs are wonderful companions but should be treated with respect as well as love and their health should be given proper consideration especially through a controlled diet.
    Tanker
    25th Aug 2019
    10:18am
    Our latest pooch was a rescue dog who had been used as a breeding bitch in a puppy farm. She a traumatic first 18 months of life and it has taken some time for her to settle down as a family dog. She is a real family dog who loves affection, giving it as well as receiving it. She is intelligent, being a Kelpie, sometimes too intelligent being able to see through our attempts at getting her back on her lead but really is a lovely and very healthy dog.
    Our previous dog we bought and later suspected she had been the product of a puppy farm but she was very healthy and lived until she was 16 years of age.
    Our first dog was a pedigree and bought from a breeder but we eventually discovered had a genetic heart condition and died young. Our advice is beware pedigree dogs as they are often, but not always, bred for looks and not good health despite their protestations to the contrary. Our 2nd dog was also a pedigree, a Rottweiler, and she was absolutely beautiful. A wonderful family dog, altho' big, and very friendly to everyone once they had been properly introduced. A great guard dog protecting the family, especially the kids, and give a big warning to strangers that could not be ignored. She never did anything other than warned strangers and was very biddable. Probably my favorite dog and it was a sad day when she developed cancer in the shoulder but she showed immense courage with that.
    Dogs are wonderful companions but should be treated with respect as well as love and their health should be given proper consideration especially through a controlled diet.
    sunnyOz
    25th Aug 2019
    11:18am
    I will only adopt a rescue dog, and am quite happy taking on a 'senior' (like it's owner). Having bred and owned Jack Russell's for over 30 years, I adopted by girl Bella 5 years ago at age 7. Now 12, she still has as much up and go as a young pup. Might need a longer snooze in between, but still a bundle of energy. She was a rescue dog and it took at least 18 months to totally gel as she was petrified of so many things. Even now, I have to be careful when I pick up a broom as she obviously remembers something pretty bad.
    So all for adopting a rescue dog. A local neighbor asked me to help her look for a dog to adopt (she does not have a computer) so I searched some of the on line pet adoption places. But oh my lord! - some of the prices! - anyone would think they were a top class breeding establishment! Some dogs without papers - their price was $1900!! I had to send an email to check thinking it was a typo - but on. $1900 for a rescue dog, with no known history. I was appalled and disgusted. Particularly when I found you could get the same breed dog direct from a reputable breeder for around the same price!
    I remember a time some pet rescue places used to give away dogs - to good homes. Now it seems to be more about making a profit than the best interest of the dog.
    Triss
    25th Aug 2019
    12:40pm
    Yes, sunnyOz, all my life we adopted our dogs and cats from the pound. However the last time we went in the prices were way up in the hundreds of dollars so we adopted from the classified ads in the daily newspaper.
    Huskie
    25th Aug 2019
    12:22pm
    We have adopted 11 Siberian Husky's. All came from a reputable breeder who did the original rescue. The breeder knew our situations re location, knowledge and approach to dog ownership. All the dogs were Seniors and settled in with us over time. Have been sad when we lost them but were happy in the knowledge that they had a safe, secure and loving home in which to spend the twilight years. Still have two with us and would not take in a younger dog. Older dogs, like older people, are basically "thrown on the scrapheap" because their value is not appreciated.
    vinradio
    25th Aug 2019
    12:53pm
    I adopted 3 mini schnauzers, from a breeder who also took in rescue schnauzers, the most lovely dogs I have ever owned. All were "middle aged to seniors', still plenty of life in them! Sadly one passed away after breaking it's neck, and becoming paralysed, we still don't know how it happened all we heard was a yelp during the night, as she slept under my bed and in the morning she couldn't move herself from under the bed! Took her to the vet straight away, where the decision was made to put her down, as she was not likely to have any quality of life.
    Incognito
    25th Aug 2019
    8:07pm
    I think if you have the time, a good secure backyard and the money to look after them, getting a dog is a wonderful idea, saving them from the pound is great to prevent them from being put down. I would like to see making money from selling dogs banned, I can't believe some of the prices I see on gumtree for example, it would also end breeding way too many dogs. Unfortunately I rent with no fencing so cannot have a dog, but I love to pat all the ones I can, I have some favs that I see on my walks.


    Tags: how to, dog, adopt,

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